BUCHAREST, Romania — Canada ended the World Rugby U20 Trophy on a winning note Sunday, thumping host Romania 71-14 to finish seventh at the eight-team tournament.
Canadians (1-3-0) ran in 11 tries with Kevin Vertkas and Jack McCarthy scoring two apiece. Brennig Prevost booted eight conversions. Romania finished at 0-4-0.
It's been a tough tournament for Canada, which squandered a 26-11 halftime lead and lost 31-29 to Portugal in its opening game. The Canadians then gave up a try in stoppage time to lose 27-23 to Uruguay. In its final preliminary-round game, Canada lost 53-26 to Fiji after leading 20-7 at the half.
Canada also finished seventh at last year's second-tier age-group championship.
Fiji battered Samoa 58-8 in the final to win promotion to the elite World U20 Championship. Samoa won promotion after winning the U20 Trophy in 2016 but were relegated from the U20 Championship after finishing last in Georgia earlier this year.
Canada has not played in the top-tier age-group tournament since 2009 when it finished 14th. It has competed a level below since, coming close to promotion in 2013 and 2015 when it was runner-up to Italy and Georgia, respectively.
Other years have been less profitable. Canada has finished fifth (2011), sixth (2010 and 2012) and seventh (2014 and 2017). It failed to make the field in 2016, losing to the U.S. in qualifying.
The Canadians had high hopes this year, coming off an extended pre-tournament training camp funded by a group of rugby supporters.
Canada defeated the U.S. for the lone North American berth at the U20 Trophy.
The Canadian Press